free booknotes online

Help / FAQ




<- Previous Page | First Page | Next Page ->
MonkeyNotes-The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version

There are approximately nine significant events from the past that make their way into Benjy's monologue. The following is a list of those events, placed in approximate chronological order:

1. Benjy is three years old. He and his siblings play at the creek. When they return home, their grandmother, Damuddy, has passed away.

2. Benjy's name is changed from Maury to Benjamin. He is five years old.

3. Benjy and Caddy deliver Uncle Maury's letter to Mrs. Patterson. Benjy is around seven years old.

4. Caddy uses perfume and Benjy gets angry because she no longer smells "like trees." Benjy finds Caddy with a boy (Charlie) in the swing and tries to get her to leave. Caddy loses her virginity. Benjy is between the ages of 10 and 15 when these events take place.

5. Benjy alone delivers a letter to Mrs. Patterson. Mr. Peterson intercepts the letter. Benjy is thirteen.

6. Caddy is pregnant. She gets married and goes away. Benjy and T. P. get drunk. Quentin is upset.

7. Benjy waits at the gate for Caddy after she has gone away.

8. Benjy is castrated after a young girl misunderstands and thinks he is molesting her.


9. Quentin commits suicide. Mr. Compson dies. Roskus dies.

To present these past episodes and those of the present day, Faulkner uses a "stream of consciousness" technique, which consists of giving the thoughts of a character in the order in which those thoughts occur in the mind of the character. The thoughts in such a case are not arranged in the chronological order as they are in an ordinary novel written according to the traditional mode of narration. The human mind thinks of so many things at random. Faulkner transfers these thoughts of a character to paper exactly in the same order in which they occur to the character. Thus, some of the thoughts have no connection at all with the preceding or succeeding thoughts or with the events that are happening in the present. Faulkner's aim in following this technique is to give us an accurate picture of the character's mind, even though we may not be able to make sense of those thoughts because no sequence has been observed.

Benjy's monologue gives us a very interesting picture of the members of the Compson family, despite the complicated narration and his own mental impairment. One of the most striking features of the life of these children is Caddy's sincere care and deep attachment to Benjy, and Benjy's subsequent affection for her. Jason is consistently alone, uncooperative, cruel. Quentin has a temper and cannot stand it when things are out of control. He slaps Caddy for getting muddy. All these characteristics play out on a much larger scale as the novel progresses. Caddy is the only friend Benjy has. Jason is a mean spirited patriarch. Quentin cannot deal with discord and problems. He does not know how to handle Caddy's "dirt". The picture of the parents is equally accurate and revealing. Mr. Compson is detached. He is always asking the children to take care of one another. Mrs. Compson is too sick and too fragile to deal with her children. She has no control over Benjy, and regards him as a punishment on her. She gives Caddy no guidance, no advice. Only Jason, probably the least deserving of all the children, has earned the love of his mother. The rest suffer the consequence of feeling no guidance or love.

Benjy is a kind of protagonist in the novel, because he reacts to things purely out of a sense of good versus bad. He has been called a moral mirror, since his reactions to people are generally based on their worth and value. Caddy is the most sensitive to Benjy's power of serving as a kind of moral mirror. When Caddy is old enough to be interested in youthful courtship, she discovers that Benjy dislikes the perfume which she is holding in her hand and this discovery gives her a sense of guilt, prompting her to wash herself clean. Also when one night Benjy finds Caddy and her boy friend Charlie, kissing the swing on the town, Caddy leaves Charlie and comes to Benjy to soothe him. Benjy has again aroused in her a sense of guilt. On this occasion too, Caddy washes her mouth hard in order to remove the stain of Charlie's kiss. There is another indifferent incident also which shows Benjy as a moral mirror to Caddy. When Caddy returns home after her first complete sexual experience Benjy went towards her, but Caddy shrank against the wall. Here again Benjy evokes in Caddy a deep sense of guilt. Benjy instinctively reacts by crying loudly and pulling her dress.

Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version


<- Previous Page | First Page | Next Page ->
MonkeyNotes-The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Google
Web
PinkMonkey

Google
  Web PinkMonkey.com   

All Contents Copyright PinkMonkey.com
All rights reserved. Further Distribution Is Strictly Prohibited.


About Us
 | Advertising | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Home Page
This page was last updated: 5/9/2017 9:53:31 AM